Sunday, June 17, 2018

Hide and Seek

When was the last time you watched children play hide and seek? As a child we would play Sunday mornings--after we were ready for church, but Mom needed to take care of herself. Apparently she could see Dad "hiding" in the kitchen, but we never could. We'd come tearing around the corner only to be grabbed with a roar, squeezed with a squeal, and let go. Adults see things kids are oblivious to--either they can't or don't want to see them, so they don't.

In reading Jesus' sermon on the mount, the same is true of adults.We don't want to see our sin for what it is. We call it "discernment," "overlooking and offense," or other nicely coined term instead of lying, deceit, or unforgiveness. Jesus called out the people for greed, anger, covetousness, worry, adultery, and hypocrisy, among others. It doesn't matter if we see sin for what it is, God does. God sees what is done in secret and He rewards it.

So one question is, "What kind of rewards are heading my way?" Based on what God alone sees (even if people don't), what's been happening in my mind and heart. That's an examination we need.

The next question might be, "What needs to change?" And this, perhaps, is the harder question with a more difficult answer. I could try to clean up my act (and I probably should). I can try to be more aware of the sin lurking in the corners of my heart and God's holiness (that's a good idea, too). I can try to look out for and love others (that's not bad). But the greater answer is that there is nothing I can do to get rid of my sins of the past or prevent sin in the future. There's just too much of it. It runs deep. And it follows me. Just when I think I'm making progress, it resurfaces. The answer, then, is not me, but someone else. Someone greater, someone better, someone holier who will do it for me.... And that's where Jesus comes in.

The challenge is to admit I can't. I can't change myself adequately. I can't do away with sin. I can't fix the past or prevent the future. I. Simply. Can't. But Jesus did--and Jesus can.

I don't know about you, but today, I need Jesus. When I run around the corner of life, whether I see it or not, He's already there--with a squeeze and a roar. Will you run to His arms or run away? The choice is yours.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall." (Matthew 7:13-27)

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